It’s springtime in Blanco State Park! You can tell because the Winter Texans staying in the park are preparing to make their journeys back North.
One couple we spoke with, Lennie and Dick, plan to stop at Fort Davis and other parks on their way back to Grand Forks, North Dakota. On the day of our visit, the folks back home were suffering through a blizzard that was expected to dump up to a foot of snow. By contrast, we were enjoying clear skies and gorgeous 80-degree weather that second day of spring. Perhaps this is one reason Lennie and Dick have been spending their winters in Texas for the past 20 years! They have stayed in Blanco State Park twice this year and have enjoyed running into Winter Texans that they have met at other parks in Texas.
Francois and Helene are also preparing to make the long drive back home, but their journey will take them to the eastern side of the continent to a place in the province of Quebec, Canada, between Montreal and the Vermont border. They have been staying in Blanco State Park for the past 3 ½ months and, both being artists, have become involved in activities at the Art Center. In fact, on the day we spoke, Francois was sitting outside and painting with oils. He was named Tejano Artist of the Month in February, and Helene’s drawings were offered at Blanco Market Days. Francois notes that it’s rare to find a state park in the middle of town, and they love it here. Look for this couple to return to Blanco State Park next winter – they already have their reservations in place!
People aren’t the only ones migrating North as Spring arrives. Say good-bye until next year to the American Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, Dark-eyed Juncos, Chipping Sparrows, and Song Sparrows that have been spending the winter at the park.
The native Spring wildflowers in the park are yet another sign that Spring has sprung. We’ve already seen Texas Paintbrush and Stork Bills in bloom, with many more species to follow suit in the next few weeks. Dedicated volunteers have been removing the dreaded bastard cabbage from the park to help give the native wildflowers a fighting chance to grow and blossom. Bastard cabbage is a non-native invasive plant that chokes out native plants with its broad mass of leaves and robust taproot. However, timely removal will help prevent its spread, thus allowing more desirable plants to thrive. If you would like to volunteer to help remove invasive plants, just show up at park headquarters at one of the times listed below and bring your work gloves, hand spade, and clippers. Someone will be available to help you identify the plants that need removal. Come and help us keep the park the shining jewel that it is.
This monthly column is brought to you by the Friends of Blanco State Park, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving and protecting the park’s natural beauty for current enjoyment and that of future generations. It is easy to become a member of the Friends group. Just pick up a membership application at the park office, join us at one of our events, or call the park office at 830-833-4333.
Naturescape Activity Center volunteer work – March 28, 9 a.m. - noon
Nature Walk – March 29, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Wild Woman Weekend – April 4 and 5 – numerous activities in the park, including an interpretive walk from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Invasive Plant Removal – April 11, 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Birds at Breakfast – April 12, 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Invasive Plant Removal – April 18, 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Invasive Plant Removal – April 25, 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Nature Walk – April 26, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Stars in the Park – May 2, time to be announced
Classic Car Show – May 17
Check this column monthly for more news about upcoming events and other happenings at Blanco State Park.
Did you know…….? Blanco State Park has 29 campsites, and all of them have water and electricity. Campsites may be reserved online, by phone, or by fax up to 11 months in advance.